Fresh Oregon berries are popping up
in markets all over right now.
Strawberries are ripe first and I am always caught a little by surprise that it is already time to go pick some of those beauties. Once I have gotten over the shock and put some strawberries in my freezer I am on track for all the rest of the Oregon berry greatness about to come ripe in fields and be found in farmer’s markets as well.
It’s hard not to get carried away by the amazing variety of berry bounty that is available to us here in Oregon during the short summer months. Raspberries, those little heavenly morsels are available both early and late season. Look for red raspberries in mid June to July for early varieties and then again in August and September for late varieties. Black raspberries are ripe in early to mid July and look for golden raspberries in August. Blackberries come in an amazing array of varieties that extend the season from mid July to late September. Marionberries, an Oregon favorite for good reason, are available generally in mid July to the first week of August; don’t miss a chance to stock up on this taste sensation. Blackberries come in a wide array so don’t miss your chance to try some of the sensational new ones when you are choosing. Other blackberries like Kotata, Waldo, Silvan, Black Diamond and Chester are hard to beat in taste and sweetness and work for pies, cobblers and jams. Loganberries, Boysenberries, Ollalieberries, Tayberries and lots more all have their fans are generally ripe in mid July to mid August.
Be sure to check the markets and postings in newspapers and online regularly to be sure you don’t miss a favorite berry. The weather plays an important role in when the berries reach the peak of ripeness so harvest dates can vary from year to year by as much as two weeks. Don’t despair if you do miss out on stocking up on fresh berries. Oregon berry growers harvest primarily for freezing, meaning that fresh from the freezer Oregon berries are available all year long in a store near you. For a listing of u-pick farms in your area go to Pick Your Own and Tri-County Farms.
Everyone needs a good recipe to go along with his or her flat of juicy Oregon berries; I don’t think you can go wrong with berry shortcake, a summertime staple for generations. Try this Oregon Blackberry Almond Shortcake recipe the day you bring home your first flat!